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From your legislator.

Byline: State Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema

With the end of formal sessions last month, I've been spending more time around my district and in other parts of the commonwealth meeting with local officials and speaking with municipal employees. As I hear their stories, one theme that resonates in all of them is that right now is a very hard time for people to be serving on the local level.

Despite the fiscal challenges that local governments and municipalities continue to face, it is inspiring to see people who want to serve their communities and how now more than ever they are engaged in our uniquely American and democratic way of government.

I have always believed in a core set of principles and values when it comes to public service, that those who run for elected office should do so with the genuine intent to serve the people and be independent thinkers who look out for their constituents' interests, not their own. I liken this attitude to our founding father's philosophy of a citizen legislature, where people from all walks of life come together to pool their talents and experiences in carrying out the business of the people.

In this day and age of career politicians, I'm pleased to see that come November, our state Legislature will see a host of new members in both the House and Senate by way of current members retiring. I feel that term limits would guarantee that our government remains vibrant and fresh with a constant influx of brand new ideas from newly elected officials, both on the state and local level.

Ultimately though, it is the elected officials on the local level who are the ones who make the decisions that greatly impact all of us, whether it is determining the number of police officers for a given city or town or voting on the construction of a new school. These local officials show up to do the job that may not be glamorous but is still vital and important in order to ensure the high quality of life that we all have come to enjoy. While I am proud of my 100 percent voting record on Beacon Hill, having never missed a roll call vote in my 10 years in the House of Representatives, the real credit needs to be given to all of the good men and women serving on the local level who remain committed to public service.

As we continue through these rocky economic times, it is also important to stress the importance of not just public service, but community service as well. Earlier this month, I had the privilege of continuing one of my time-honored annual traditions since becoming a state representative. On Aug. 10, the annual charity golf tournament that I host raised more than $30,000, which will go to benefit two local charities: the Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services and the Westboro Food Pantry. Throughout the tournament's 10 year history, the event has raised more than $200,000 for these deserving organizations.

At a time when families and businesses all across the commonwealth continue to tighten their belts and watch every penny, it is heart-warming to see people come out and donate to a worthy cause. In these difficult times, groups like Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, which provides social services to low-income families, and Westboro Food Pantry, which supplies food, paper goods and toiletries to needy residents, are struggling with a higher demand with fewer and fewer resources.

While the money that was raised at this year's golf tournament will go a long way, these organizations also rely on the generosity of volunteers who spend their time helping out in many ways that make the mission of these two organizations succeed. What better way to become involved in the community than to donate a portion of your time in helping out a needy organization?

State Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema, D-Holliston, represenrs the 8th Middlesex District of Precinct 2 in Westboro, Holliston, Hopkinton, Precinct 1 in Medway, and Precincts 2 and 3 in Southboro. She can be reached at (617) 722-2210 or by e-mail at Rep.CarolynDykeme@hou.state.m.us.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 2, 2010
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